In our book’s chapter The Lookout Post—Giraffes of Technology about the future of work due to science and technology, we researched MIT’s Peter Senge and his unique book about the world’s future published in 1990: The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.
In 1999 the Journal of Business Strategy named MIT’s Peter Senge “Strategist of the Century.” He is the definition of a look-out post that continually scans the horizon. In 1990 he wrote The Fifth Discipline, a book that predicted that business was entering a time of quickening pace where there no longer would be a stable environment. Society would be bombarded with ongoing change and need to be more alert through intensive, ongoing learning. Senge suggested that when encountering rapid change, only companies that were “flexible, adaptive, and productive” would excel.
He argued that companies must begin to see their employees as people, as assets to develop and feed through learning. The industrial-age terms “human resources” and “personnel” would shift to “human capital.” To keep up with change, companies would need to become sincere learning organizations and decentralize the power of old industrial-age hierarchy, bringing human characteristics such as the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Peter Senge viewed companies as organic entities that needed to adopt behavior that emulates learning. In his book The Fifth Discipline, Senge writes about “organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”